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How fast and reliable is "cell phone Internet"?

Dialup, broadband, or in between?

     
4:06 pm on Jul 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I'm thinking of getting a cell phone for the first time, and one of the neat features I hadn't known about is the ability to connect a laptop to the phone via USB cable and get mobile Internet. This would be very handy, provided its reliable and is fast enough to actually get some work done. So, for those of you who have used this type of Internet connection, what's it like? Fast? Slow? Does the connection get dropped often, or is it pretty reliable? Also, how secure/insecure is it?

Thanks in advance,

Matthew

4:11 pm on July 21, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I use my cell phone for internet connection with my laptop when I am traveling. I have always experienced around 128 Kb/s (ISDN speed, twice that of dialup) and have not noticed any problems with being dropped, etc. It's pretty much the same coverage as your normal cell coverage. There is one caveat to that statement though. Data and voice services are distributed across cellular networks as separate services. Just because you have voice service in a location does not necessarily mean you will also have data service. As far as security goes, I've never had a problem with it. Https is supported, so data is 128-bit encrypted (newer phones support this, maybe higher). Don't quote me on this, but can't imagine being any less secure than a wireless network. Perhaps even more secure if you are mobile while using it - harder to track you across geography versus your wireless network is in fixed location.

Sticky me if you want any recommendations on software - I use some great, inexpensive stuff that synchronizes my email to my phone, ringers, images, etc etc.

7:32 pm on July 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Thanks for this information. 128kb/s isn't bad at all. I'm looking at the Verizon basic package ($40/mo) and they say data is available anywhere voice is available. They did warn me that the speeds would vary depending on location, but would always be faster than a 56k dialup connection. Based on some remarks I've heard, I was sceptical of that and wanted some second opinions. From what you've said, their claims seem more reasonable.

I sent that sticky - I haven't been too concerned about synchronizing data so far, but if it can be done easily I'm all for it.

5:19 am on Aug 20, 2005 (gmt 0)

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my cell service is with sprint. the internet connection is a slug and their proprietary poor excuse for a web portal is worthless. I'd rather use my ipaq.
kat
3:56 pm on Aug 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

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My samsung i730 is verizon EVDO enabled and I can get 400-700 kbps on a good day in EVDO range (about 40 cities in the US have it). It works as modem for my laptop too. There is a hack going around that will let you use the 730 via bluetooth so you can get wireless modem connectivity (laptop to phone via bluetooth and then Phone to internet via EVDO).
4:04 pm on Aug 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Thanks for the replies everyone. I bought a Motorola e815 with Verizon service the other day. In my non-EVDO area, I'm getting about 115kb/s, which isn't bad for normal browsing or even small downloads. Supposedly this area is scheduled for EVDO sometime next year, so I'm looking forward to that!

<off topic> Can't seem to get MP3 files transferred to the phone though. I was looking forward to adding some ringtones of my own. </off topic>

 

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